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For the political party, see Hatikva (political party). For the Tel Aviv neighbourhood, see Hatikva Quarter.
English: The Hope
Cigarette silk depicting Zionist flag (3560854953).jpg
The lyrics of "Hatikvah" below an Israeli flag

National anthem of  Israel
Lyrics Naftali Herz Imber, 1878
Music Samuel Cohen, 1888
Adopted 1897 (First Zionist Congress)
1948 (unofficially)
2004 (officially)
Music sample

"Hatikvah" (Hebrew: הַתִּקְוָה‎, pronounced [hatikˈva], lit. English: "The Hope") is the national anthem of Israel. Its lyrics are adapted from a poem by Naftali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Złoczów (today Zolochiv, Ukraine), then part of Austrian Poland. Imber wrote the first version of the poem in 1877, while the guest of a Jewish scholar in Iași, Romania. The romantic anthem's theme reflects some Jews' hope of moving to the Land of Israel and declaring it a sovereign nation.


The text of Hatikvah was written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Zolochiv (Polish: Złoczów), a city nicknamed "The City of Poets",[1] in Austrian Poland, today part of the Ukraine. In 1882 Imber immigrated to Ottoman-ruled Palestine and read his poem to the pioneers of the early Jewish colonies - Rishon Lezion, Rehovot, Gedera and Yesud Hama'ala.[2]

Imber's nine-stanza poem, Tikvatenu ("Our Hope"), put into words his thoughts and feelings following the establishment of Petah Tikva (literally "Opening of Hope"). Published in Imber's first book Barkai [The Shining Morning Star], Jerusalem, 1886 ,[3] the poem was subsequently adopted as an anthem by the Hovevei Zion and later by the Zionist Movement at the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

Before the establishment of the State of Israel[edit]

Hatikvah was chosen as the anthem of the First Zionist Congress in 1897.[4]

The British Mandate government briefly banned its public performance and broadcast from 1919, in response to an increase in Arab anti-Zionist political activity.[5]

A former member of the Sonderkommando reports that the song was spontaneously sung by Czech Jews in the entryway to the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chamber in 1944. While singing they were beaten by Waffen-SS guards.[6]

Adoption as national anthem[edit]

When the State of Israel was established in 1948, Hatikvah was unofficially proclaimed the national anthem. It did not officially become the national anthem until November 2004, when an abbreviated and edited version was sanctioned by the Knesset[4] in an amendment to the Flag and Coat-of-Arms Law (now renamed the Flag, Coat-of-Arms, and National Anthem Law).

In its modern rendering, the official text of the anthem incorporates only the first stanza and refrain of the original poem. The predominant theme in the remaining stanzas is the establishment of a sovereign and free nation in the Land of Israel, a hope largely seen as fulfilled with the founding of the State of Israel.


The melody for Hatikvah derives from La Mantovana, a 16th-century Italian song, composed by Giuseppe Cenci (Giuseppino del Biado) ca. 1600 with the text "Fuggi, fuggi, fuggi da questo cielo". Its earliest known appearance in print was in the del Biado's collection of madrigals. It was later known in early 17th-century Italy as Ballo di Mantova . This melody gained wide currency in Renaissance Europe, under various titles, such as the Pod Krakowem (in Polish) , Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus [Maize with up-standing leaves] (in Romanian)  and the Kateryna Kucheryava (in Ukrainian) .[7] The melody was used by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana in his set of six symphonic poems celebrating Bohemia, Má vlast ("My homeland"), namely in the second poem named after the river which flows through Prague, Vltava; the piece is also known under its German title as Die Moldau.

The adaptation of the music for Hatikvah was set by Samuel Cohen in 1888. Cohen himself recalled many years later that he had hummed Hatikvah based on the melody from the song he had heard in Romania, Carul cu boi [The Ox-Driven Cart] .

The harmony of Hatikvah follows a minor scale, which is often perceived as mournful in tone and is uncommon in national anthems. As the title "The Hope" and the words suggest, the import of the song is optimistic and the overall spirit uplifting.

Official text[edit]

Imber's handwritten text of the poem

The official text of the national anthem corresponds to the first stanza and amended refrain of the original nine-stanza poem by Naftali Herz Imber. Along with the original Hebrew, the corresponding transliteration[a] and English translation are listed below.

Hebrew Transliteration English translation Poetic English translation
כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה Kol ‘od balevav penimah As long as in the heart, within, O while within a Jewish breast,
נֶפֶשׁ יְהוּדִי הוֹמִיָּה Nefesh yehudi homiyah, A Jewish soul still yearns, Beats true a Jewish heart,
וּלְפַאֲתֵי מִזְרָח, קָדִימָה, Ul(e)fa’atei mizrach kadimah, And onward, towards the ends of the east, And Jewish glances turning East,
עַיִן לְצִיּוֹן צוֹפִיָּה, ‘Ayin letziyon tzofiyah; an eye still gazes toward Zion; To Zion fondly dart;
עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ, ‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu, Our hope is not yet lost, O then our Hope—it is not dead,
הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם Hatikvah bat sh(e)not ’alpayim, The hope two thousand years old, Our ancient Hope and true,
לִהְיוֹת עַם חָפְשִׁי בְּאַרְצֵנוּ, Lihyot ‘am chofshi b(e)’artzeinu, To be a free nation in our land, To be a nation where Moses led
אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם. ’Eretz-Tziyon viy(e)rushalayim. The land of Zion and Jerusalem. Zion, Jerusalem by even very few

Some people compare the first line of the refrain, “Our hope is not yet lost” (“עוד לא אבדה תקוותנו”), to the opening of the Polish national anthem, Poland Is Not Yet Lost (Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła) or the Ukrainian national anthem, Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished (Ще не вмерла Україна; Šče ne vmerla Ukrajina). This line may also be a Biblical allusion to Ezekiel’s "Vision of the Dried Bones" (Ezekiel 37: "…Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost"), describing the despair of the Jewish people in exile, and God’s promise to redeem them and lead them back to the Land of Israel.

The official text of Hatikvah is relatively short; indeed it is a single complex sentence, consisting of two clauses: the subordinate clause posits the condition ("As long as… A soul still yearns… And… An eye still watches…"), while the independent clause specifies the outcome ("Our hope is not yet lost… To be a free nation in our land").

Text of Tikvateinu by Naftali Herz Imber[edit]

Below is the full text of the original nine-stanza poem Tikvateinu by Naftali Herz Imber. The current version of the Israeli national anthem corresponds to the first stanza of this poem and the amended refrain.

Hebrew Transliteration English translation
כל עוד בלבב פנימה Kol-‘od balevav penimah As long as in the heart, within,
נפש יהודי הומיה, Nefesh yehudi homiyah, A Jewish soul still yearns,
ולפאתי מזרח קדימה, Ul(e)fa’atei mizrach kadimah, And onward, towards the ends of the east,
עין לציון צופיה; ‘Ayin letziyon tzofiyah; An eye still looks toward Zion;
חזרה   Refrain
עוד לא אבדה תקותנו, ‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu, Our hope is not yet lost,
התקוה הנושנה, Hatikvah hannoshanah, The ancient hope,
לשוב לארץ אבותינו, Lashuv le’eretz avoteinu, To return to the land of our fathers,
לעיר בה דוד חנה. La‘ir bah david k'hanah. The city where David encamped.
כל עוד דמעות מעינינו Kol ‘od dema‘ot me‘eineinu As long as tears from our eyes
יזלו כגשם נדבות, Yizzelu kegeshem nedavot, Flow like benevolent rain,
ורבבות מבני עמנו Urevavot mibbenei ‘ammeinu And throngs of our countrymen
עוד הולכים על קברי אבות; ‘Od hol(e)chim ‘al kivrei avot; Still pay homage at the graves of (our) fathers;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד חומת מחמדינו Kol-‘od chomat mach(a)maddeinu As long as our precious Wall
לעינינו מופעת, Le‘eineinu mofa‘at, Appears before our eyes,
ועל חרבן מקדשנו Ve‘al churban mikdasheinu And over the destruction of our Temple
עין אחת עוד דומעת; ‘Ayin achat ‘od doma‘at; An eye still wells up with tears;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד מי הירדן בגאון Kol ‘od mei hayarden bega’on As long as the waters of the Jordan
מלא גדותיו יזלו, Melo’ gedotav yizzolu, In fullness swell its banks,
ולים כנרת בשאון Uleyam kinneret besha’on And (down) to the Sea of Galilee
בקול המולה יפֹלו; Bekol hamulah yippolu; With tumultuous noise fall;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד שם עלי דרכים Kol ‘od sham ‘alei drachayim As long as on the barren highways
שער יכת שאיה, Sha‘ar yukkat she’iyah, The humbled city gates mark,
ובין חרבות ירושלים Uvein charvot yerushalayim And among the ruins of Jerusalem
עוד בת ציון בוכיה; ‘Od bat tziyon bochiyah; A daughter of Zion still cries;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד דמעות טהורות Kol ‘od dema‘ot tehorot As long as pure tears
מעין בת עמי נוזלות, Me‘ein bat ‘ammi nozlot, Flow from the eye of a daughter of my nation,
ולבכות לציון בראש אשמורות Velivkot letziyon berosh ’ashmorot And to mourn for Zion at the watch of night
עוד תקום בחצי הלילות; ‘Od takum bachatzi halleilot; She still rises in the middle of the nights;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד נטפי דם בעורקינו Kol ‘od nitfei dam be‘orkeinu As long as drops of blood in our veins
רצוא ושוב יזלו Ratzo’ vashov yizzolu, Flow back and forth,
ועלי קברות אבותינו Va‘alei kivrot avoteinu And upon the graves of our fathers
עוד אגלי טל יפלו; ‘Od eglei tal yippolu; Dewdrops still fall;
חזרה   Refrain
כל עוד רגש אהבת הלאום Kol ‘od regesh ahavat halle’om As long as the feeling of love of nation
בלב היהודי פועם, Beleiv hayhudi po‘eim, Throbs in the heart of the Jew,
עוד נוכל קוות גם היום ‘Od nuchal kavvot gam hayyom We can still hope even today
כי עוד ירחמנו אל זועם; Ki ‘od yerachmeinu ’eil zo‘eim; That a wrathful God may still have mercy on us;
חזרה   Refrain
שמעו אחי בארצות נודִי Shim‘u achai be’artzot nudi Hear, O my brothers in the lands of exile,
את קול אחד חוזינו, Et kol achad chozeinu, The voice of one of our visionaries,
כי רק עם אחרון היהודִי Ki rak ‘im acharon hayhudi (Who declares) That only with the very last Jew —
גם אחרית תקותנו! Gam acharit tikvateinu! Only there is the end of our hope!
חזרה   Refrain
–X– (unofficial)
לֵךְ עַמִּי, לְשָׁלוֹם שׁוּב לְאַרְצֶךָ, Lech ʻammi, leshalom shuv le’artzecha Go, my people, return in peace to your land
הַצֱּרִי בְגִלְעָד, בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם רוֹפְאֶךָ, Hatzeri vegilʻad, biYrushalayim rofecha The balm in Gilead, your healer in Jerusalem,
רוֹפְאֶךָ יְיָ, חָכְמַת לְבָבוֹ, rofecha YY (adonai), chochmat levavo Your healer is God, the wisdom of His heart,
לֵךְ עַמִּי לְשָׁלוֹם, וּרְפוּאָה קְרוֹבָה לָבוֹא... lech ʻammi leshalom, ur(e)fuʼah k(e)rovah lavoʼ...` Go my people in peace, healing is imminent...

Alternate proposals and objections[edit]

Religious objections[edit]

Some religious Jews have criticized Hatikvah for its lack of religious emphasis: There is no mention of God or the Torah. One proposal was to switch the word "חופשי" (free, which in modern Hebrew can allude to a secular Jew being free of mitzvot) with the word "קודש" (holy), thus reading the line: "To be a holy nation", referring to the verse in Exodus 19:6 "וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹש" (you shall be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation).

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook wrote an alternative anthem titled “HaEmunah” ("The Faith") which he proposed as a replacement for Hatikvah. But he did not object to the singing of Hatikvah, and in fact endorsed it.[8]

Objections by non-Jewish Israelis[edit]

Liberalism and the Right to Culture, written by Avishai Margalit and Moshe Halbertal, provides a social scientific perspective on the cultural dynamics in Israel, a country that is a vital home to many diverse religious groups. More specifically, Margalit and Halbertal cover the various responses towards Hatikvah, which they establish as the original anthem of a Zionist movement, one that holds a two thousand year long hope of returning to the homeland (“Zion and Jerusalem”) after a long period of exile.

To introduce the controversy of Israel’s national anthem, the authors provide two instances where Hatikvah is rejected for the enstrangement that it creates between the minority cultural groups of Israel and its religious politics. Those that object find trouble in the mere fact that the national anthem is exclusively Jewish while a significant proportion of the state's citizenry is not Jewish and lacks any connection to the anthem's content and implications.

As Margalit and Halbertal continue to discuss, Hatikvah symbolizes for many Arab-Israelis the struggle of loyalty that comes with having to dedicate oneself to either their historical or religious identity.[9]

Specifically, Arab Israelis object to Hatikvah due to its explicit allusions to Jewishness. In particular, the text's reference to the yearnings of "a Jewish soul" is often cited as preventing non-Jews from personally identifying with the anthem. In 2001, Saleh Tarif, the first non-Jew appointed to the Israeli cabinet in Israel's history, refused to sing Hatikvah.[10] Ghaleb Majadale, who in January 2007 became the first Muslim to be appointed as a minister in the Israeli cabinet, sparked a controversy when he publicly refused to sing the anthem, stating that the song was written for Jews only.[11] In 2012, Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab justice on Israel's Supreme Court, did not join in singing Hatikvah during a ceremony honoring the retirement of the court's chief justice, Dorit Beinisch.[12]

From time to time proposals have been made to change the national anthem or to modify the text in order to make it more acceptable to non-Jewish Israelis.[13][14] To date no such proposals have succeeded in gaining broad support.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In the transliterations that appear on this page, a right quote (’) is used to represent the Hebrew letter aleph (א) when used as a consonant, while a left quote (‘) is used to represent the Hebrew letter ‘ayin (ע). The letter e in parentheses, (e), indicates a schwa that should theoretically be voiceless, but is usually pronounced as a very short e in modern Israeli Hebrew. In contrast, the letter a in parentheses, (a), indicates a very short a that should theoretically be pronounced, but is usually not voiced in modern Israeli Hebrew.


  1. ^ Weiss, Jakob (2011), The Lemberg Mosaic, New York: Alderbrook, p. 59 .
  2. ^ Pianist explores Hatikva's origina
  3. ^ Naphtali Herz Imber (1904) Barkoi or The Blood Avenger, A.H. Rosenberg, New York (Hebrew and English)
  4. ^ a b Vivian Eden (24 August 2015). "Evil Spirits Lurking in Israel's National Anthem". Haaretz. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Morris, B (1999), Righteous victims: a history of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881–1999, Knopf .
  6. ^ Gilbert, Shirli, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps, p. 154 .
  7. ^ IV. Musical examples: Baroque and classic eras; Torban Tuning and repertoire, Torban .
  8. ^ Kook, Rav, Response to Hatikvah, In more recent years, some Israeli Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews have criticized the song's western perspective. For Iraqi and Persian Jews, for example, the Land of Israel was in the west, and it was to this direction that they focused their prayers. 
  9. ^ Margalit, Avishai; Halbertal, Moshe. "Liberalism and the Right to Culture". Social Research: An International Quarterly. Johns Hopkins University Press. 71: 494–497. 
  10. ^ "Not All Israeli Arabs Cheer Appointment of Druse Minister". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 2001-03-06. Retrieved 2012-04-26. It is the Jewish anthem, it is not the anthem of the non-Jewish citizens of Israel. 
  11. ^ "Majadele refuses to sing national anthem". Ynet News. 2007-03-17. Retrieved 2007-05-09. I fail to understand how an enlightened, sane Jew allows himself to ask a Muslim person with a different language and culture, to sing an anthem that was written for Jews only. 
  12. ^ Bronner, Ethan (3 March 2012). "Anger and Compassion for Arab Justice Who Stays Silent During Zionist Hymn". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Philologos. "Rewriting 'Hatikvah' as Anthem for All". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Carlebach, Neshama. "An Anthem For All?". The Jewish Daily Forward (recording). Retrieved 29 April 2012. . A proposed modified version.

External links[edit]